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Digital TV team sets 3D standard

DVB-3DTV ready to go

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The Digital Video Broadcasting Project, the organisation which oversees the DVB digital TV technology and its component standards, such as the DVB-T2 system Freeview HD uses, has added 3D to the specification.

DVB-3DTV, which will be formally published next month, defines how broadcasters should transmit 3D TV programming and how set-top box and telly makers should pick it up the signal, decode it and display it, irrespective of whether the screen uses active or passive 3D, Broadband TV News reports.

The standard is "frame compatible": the left- and right-eye images can be included within a conventional 2D HD frame to allow broadcasters to use existing kit. Metadata is included in the transmission to help the receiver identify that the broadcast is in 3D and to extract the two sets of images from the stream.

This makes it easier to upgrade existing hardware to 3D with a simple software update.

DVB-3DTV not only includes 720p and 1080i frame-compatible formats at both 50Hz and 70Hz, plus top-and-bottom and side-by-side 3D frame formats, but also 24Hz 1080p side-by-side frames.

The spec mandates the ability to extend DVD-3DTV in the future without breaking the existing version. Features being considered include the ability to use one of the two 3D images as a 2D image, allowing the one broadcast to feed both 3D and 2D TV sets.

The DVB is also pondering adding "depth map" data to broadcasts to allow the user to control the level of front-to-back separation between left- and right-eye images. ®

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